93% of autistic adults hit by mental health crisis
In October 2023, Brain in Hand conducted an online survey to gather insights from the autistic community on mental health, anxiety, waiting lists, and support offered.
Autistic people's mental health is on the decline
The survey demonstrated the changing diagnosis landscape and the disparities in healthcare support nationwide.
575 autistic people shared their experiences with us.
Autistic people's mental health is worsening
58% said their mental health had declined over the past year
Mental health is taking a hit
93% said their mental health has had a negative impact on their life
Most are not getting the help they need
70% had never been offered professional support
When support is offered, it’s rarely suitable
Only 6% said they had received support that met their needs
We joined Sky News to discuss our research
Watch the video to learn about Aimee's diagnosis waitlist experience, and hear what our CEO Dr Louise Morpeth and co-production lead Connor Ward have to say on this crisis.
What the community says
"It is either outdated stereotyping from NHS professionals that say things like 'you cannot be autistic because you can talk' or 'you can make eye contact'. The other option is you can choose to pay thousands for a private assessment..."
“I’ve not got an official diagnosis, and I’m not on a waiting list for an assessment because it’s so hard to keep asking to be referred..."
“My daughter was diagnosed at age 21. It took us 17 years to get anyone to listen to us as a family, no support from anywhere before diagnosis."
"There are so many barriers in being heard, and it affects accessing health care because you’re not understood, and you’re told you’ll need anti-depressants. It’s all that’s on offer”.
“There is no support for adults. The NHS seems to think if you’ve made it to adulthood, you’re fine.”
“Autistic people constantly get ignored, overlooked and talked over, despite the fact that we are the ones with direct lived experiences."
"...You would imagine we all magically vanished at adulthood from looking at research!!!”
“Autistic adults (and ADHD adults) are pretty much invisible. No research, no support. If you think about it, we’re actually in a huge majority as autistic people spend far more of their lives as adults than children."
“As a ‘high functioning’ adult, there is zero support. I struggle with many things, especially work and running a household.”
About this research
In October 2023, we conducted an online survey to gather insights from the autistic community on mental health, anxiety, waiting lists, and support offered.
In just four days, 575 autistic people shared their experiences.
The data paints a stark picture: The needs of autistic people are being unmet due to existing inequalities in mental health support.
But there is reason to be hopeful. Those who received support that met their needs saw improvements in their mental health.